Mural honoring fallen officers in Dallas torn down by city

A mural that honors the five Dallas police officers killed in an ambush in July of 2016 has been destroyed by the city because of a code violation.

Micah Johnson, a black nationalist who said he was inspired to kill white people by Black Lives Matter, the New Black Panther Party, and other extremist groups, was killed by a police robot the next day.

The city destroyed the mural following a brief fight by the owner of the Last Call Lounge, Cesar Paz. The mural was painted on a metal fence that the city said could conceal illegal activity.

CBS Dallas:

The mural listed the names of the five fallen officers, including Patrick Zamarripa who patrolled the southwest division.

“It makes me sad because he’s not here anymore,” said Valerie Zamarripa, the mother of Patrick Zamarripa. “I miss him so much.”

Valerie found out about the mural was in jeopardy a few days ago and worked to help find a solution.

“It keeps him alive so nobody ever, ever forgets,” said Valeria Zamarripa. “I feel like Dallas has bigger issues to deal with than to be dealing with this.”

A work crew unscrewed and removed each section of the mural as the sun began to set on Monday.

The 90-foot art installment was reduced to a stack of metal within 30 minutes.

“Why is the city picking on this mural? Do they not see what it represents?” questioned Zamarripa.

The City of Dallas said the fence, not the mural, at Last Call Lounge violates code and can conceal illegal activity.

The city said compliance officers cited the owner May 2017, captured pictures of the unpainted fence in June 2017 and believe the mural was painted July 2017, which marked one year since the deadly ambush.

“We thought we were doing something right and something nice for the city. We never thought we were going to have these kind of issues,” said Cesar Paz, who owns Last Call Lounge.

Paz claims he did not receive a notice of violation until after it was painted, but cannot afford to fight the city anymore.

“It was for our officers, now you know it’s gone,” said Paz.

The fact that the workers "unscrewed and removed" each section of the fence means that if the bureaucrat who ordered its removal had chosen to, the mural could have been moved to a location that didn't violate the code. The decision not to do so was arbitrary and uncalled for.

Mr. Paz did not have enough money to fight the city compliance office in court - something that the city no doubt counted on when it ordered the mural's removal. 

There was also no public outcry because few knew of the mural's existence. Again, a little money and a PR strategy might have been able to build public opposition to tearing it down. But against the machinery of the state, what chance does an ordinary citizen of modest means have?

I hope someone in Dallas takes it upon themselves to create another mural honoring these officers. And the impetus to do so should come from the minority  community whose lives are most at risk from violence and who are protected by police officers like the 5 who were murdered every day.

 

A mural that honors the five Dallas police officers killed in an ambush in July of 2016 has been destroyed by the city because of a code violation.

Micah Johnson, a black nationalist who said he was inspired to kill white people by Black Lives Matter, the New Black Panther Party, and other extremist groups, was killed by a police robot the next day.

The city destroyed the mural following a brief fight by the owner of the Last Call Lounge, Cesar Paz. The mural was painted on a metal fence that the city said could conceal illegal activity.

CBS Dallas:

The mural listed the names of the five fallen officers, including Patrick Zamarripa who patrolled the southwest division.

“It makes me sad because he’s not here anymore,” said Valerie Zamarripa, the mother of Patrick Zamarripa. “I miss him so much.”

Valerie found out about the mural was in jeopardy a few days ago and worked to help find a solution.

“It keeps him alive so nobody ever, ever forgets,” said Valeria Zamarripa. “I feel like Dallas has bigger issues to deal with than to be dealing with this.”

A work crew unscrewed and removed each section of the mural as the sun began to set on Monday.

The 90-foot art installment was reduced to a stack of metal within 30 minutes.

“Why is the city picking on this mural? Do they not see what it represents?” questioned Zamarripa.

The City of Dallas said the fence, not the mural, at Last Call Lounge violates code and can conceal illegal activity.

The city said compliance officers cited the owner May 2017, captured pictures of the unpainted fence in June 2017 and believe the mural was painted July 2017, which marked one year since the deadly ambush.

“We thought we were doing something right and something nice for the city. We never thought we were going to have these kind of issues,” said Cesar Paz, who owns Last Call Lounge.

Paz claims he did not receive a notice of violation until after it was painted, but cannot afford to fight the city anymore.

“It was for our officers, now you know it’s gone,” said Paz.

The fact that the workers "unscrewed and removed" each section of the fence means that if the bureaucrat who ordered its removal had chosen to, the mural could have been moved to a location that didn't violate the code. The decision not to do so was arbitrary and uncalled for.

Mr. Paz did not have enough money to fight the city compliance office in court - something that the city no doubt counted on when it ordered the mural's removal. 

There was also no public outcry because few knew of the mural's existence. Again, a little money and a PR strategy might have been able to build public opposition to tearing it down. But against the machinery of the state, what chance does an ordinary citizen of modest means have?

I hope someone in Dallas takes it upon themselves to create another mural honoring these officers. And the impetus to do so should come from the minority  community whose lives are most at risk from violence and who are protected by police officers like the 5 who were murdered every day.